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1 March 2010

Indonesia urges rich countries to invest in agriculture

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Indonesia is urging developed countries to put more investment into technological development, infrastructure and human resource development in the food sector in the next five years, reported the Jakarta Post.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi, who represented Indonesia at an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) agriculture conference on Thursday and Friday in Paris, said investment in the next five years should hopefully come up to the same as total investment in agriculture in the past 20 years.

“However, the recent [financial] crisis has made such large-scale investment a huge mountain to climb, especially as [many] countries have a large debt burden,” he said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Friday.

“OECD member countries in 2010 face debt problems much larger than the total of their GDPs.”

In addition to OECD countries, also attending the conference were Chile, Estonia, Israel, Russia and Slovenia which are all OECD accession candidate countries.

Indonesia is classified by OECD as an “Enhanced Engagement” country together with Brazil, China, India and South Africa. While contributing to OECD’s development planning in a sustained and comprehensive manner, countries in this category are not considered to be on the path to OECD membership. Also attending were observers from Argentina and Romania.

OECD secretary-general Angel Gurría said in her opening address that climate change and resource constraints affecting land and water posed major challenges.

“But booming demand from population growth and increased affluence in emerging markets as well as increasing use of agricultural raw materials for producing energy are opportunities for the sector,” she said, as recorded on the OECD website.

In his speech Bayu said that for Indonesia food security did not mean simply the increase of food supply but involved improved food security alongside enhanced livelihoods in rural areas.

“For that reason, we will pursue the idea of developing a common stock of food for emergency situations and establish an early warning system to address food insecurity,” he said in a prepared statement available on OECD’s website.


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